The Rust prosecutor mentioned the gun improve was improper

A picture of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who died after being shot by Alec Baldwin on the set of his film Rust, is on display at a vigil in her honor October 23, 2021 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Kevin Mohatt | Reuters

A New Mexico prosecutor in the fatal Rust shooting case admitted Alec Baldwin was wrongly charged with an additional sentence that carries a possible five-year prison sentence, the movie star’s attorneys said in a court filing this week.

Baldwin’s attorneys ruled the so-called firearm improvement unconstitutional in a motion filed Feb. 10. They argued that it didn’t apply to Baldwin’s case because the law was changed in May 2022, seven months after the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins on set in October 2021. Baldwin’s legal team withdrew their request Monday.

Baldwin, a producer on the film, held the gun that fired the bullet that killed Hutchins. The actor, who also starred in ‘The Departed’ and ‘Beetlejuice,’ has denied pulling the trigger. The film’s gunsmith, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, was also charged with two counts of manslaughter, one of which carried the gun upgrade. Gutierrez-Reed’s fees were also downgraded.

Two days after Baldwin’s defense filed the Feb. 10 motion, Special Prosecutor Andrea Reeb wrote in an email, “We are somewhat confused about your weapon enhancement request.” Reducing the charges is just an attempt to distract from the criminal proceedings. Prosecutors called Baldwin’s attorneys “fancy lawyers.”

But according to the Baldwin team’s Monday filing, 22 minutes after Reeb sent that initial email, it followed, “Let me look at the specific numbers and sections and make sure we have them correct.”

A few hours later, Reeb sent a third email, admitting that prosecutors were wrong and that she “agreed 100 percent” with Baldwin’s attorneys’ assessment of the firearm improvement.

“I will have our documents drawn up to change the criminal information to remove the firearm enhancement,” she wrote.

Prosecutors did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The emails were sent on February 12. Days later, prosecutors formally downgraded the charges and removed the firearms enhancement, which could have carried Baldwin to more than five years in prison if convicted.

Baldwin’s attorneys want to get Reeb out of the case. They filed a motion on Feb. 7, arguing that since she also serves in the New Mexico legislature, she was “constitutionally disallowed” to serve as a prosecutor in the case. Article III of the New Mexico Constitution prohibits anyone who serves in one branch of government from serving in any other branch.

Baldwin still faces involuntary manslaughter charges with a possible 18-month sentence for his role in the fatal shooting of Hutchins, the cinematographer on the set of Rust.

In addition to the criminal case, Hutchin’s mother, father and sister filed a civil lawsuit against Baldwin and others involved in the production of Rust. Hutchins’ widower, Matthew Hutchins, settled his own civil suit against Baldwin in October. He is now executive producer on Rust.

Producers announced earlier this month that filming on Rust will resume this spring and that a documentary about Hutchins’ life and work will also begin production. Production will resume in Montana, producers announced Wednesday.

Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed are scheduled to appear in court for the first time in a remote hearing Friday morning local time.

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